January 11, 2014


As we near the end of build week one, STEMpunk 4531 winds down their brainstorming process and continues prototyping shooters!


The team started out the 2014 FIRST Robotics Competition season by attending a kick-off event at Kohler Engines alongside fellow teams Droid Rage 3381 from Valders and Robo Riot 3418 from Sheboygan. We watched the live NASA webcast of our challenge from FIRST and then printed the competition manual. Teams split into groups, each reading a different section of the rules manual, becoming experts on that section. We then met back as a whole group to run through the main points of gameplay. Our challenge this year is named Aerial Assist.


Aerial Assist is played by two competing Alliances of three robots each on a flat 25’ x 54’ foot field, straddled by a truss suspended just over five feet above the floor. The objective is to score as many balls in goals as possible during a two (2)-minute and 30-second match. The more Alliances score their ball in their goals, and the more they work together to do it, the more points their Alliance receives.


The question that arose around noon was whether or not fifty pizzas would be 

 enough to fuel three FRC teams. Surprisingly, it was!


After lunch, the three teams separated and began discussing strategy for their robot. STEMpunk 4531 leaned towards playing offense and has stuck with that idea.

Brainstorming shooting mechanisms led to some interesting ideas and even more interesting names: Nemo’s Flipper- a catapult, Captain Punch- a pneumatic system, Thor’s Hammer- a kicker shaped like a golf club, and Stark Shuttle- a slingshot, were a few shooter ideas that moved onto the prototyping stage. We have since eliminated the slingshot and spent the last part of the week working on the other three prototypes.




Description: Macintosh HD:Users:nremaker:Downloads:Nemo's Flipper Velocity Grid.jpg



To start off Saturday, our rookie members built a kit-of-parts bot, which is a basic robot with instructions, to get familiarized with robot components and building techniques. Our second year members continued expanding upon our prototypes. One group started building and experimenting with a pneumatic system, and another group setup a velocity grid to see how fast the catapult shoots the ball. This will give us the ability to accurately calculate the output force of our mechanism and allow us to quantify improvements going forward.

A third group continued sketching ideas to improve the kicker by varying the angle of impact and making it more lightweight but still powerful.


As we go into our second build week, STEMpunk 4531 will be using a Pugh Matrix to decide on our shooter and use CAD modeling to lay out the drive train and shooting mechanism. With any luck we will have our shooter nearing completion by the end of next week.


Thank you for supporting the Lakeshore FIRST Robotics Program!

Kelsey Murzyn


FIRST Robotics Team STEMpunk #4531